Incontinence in adulthood
Problem incontinence - also a question of the right nappies
You are in the middle of life, successful in your activities, happy in your partnership and family. Suddenly a topic comes up that does not fit into the current self-image at all: Incontinence in adulthood. But dealing with the situation courageously and constructively brings improvement on all levels. If you are affected yourself, you can find out more here.
Causes of incontinence
It is important to understand exactly what is happening in the body. There are many different reasons why adults are unable to hold their urine all the time, or at all:
- Weakening of the pelvic floor muscles; this can be the case in women after childbirth and also in people who are very overweight.
- Malformations; anatomical changes in the bladder or sphincter muscles can be congenital and subsequently develop into a problem.
- Diseases; kidney and urinary tract infections as well as severe blockages are to be considered here, deposits in the ureter are also possible causes of incontinence.
- Injuries; accidents can cause temporary or permanent incontinence if there is damage to the urogenital tract.
- Menopause: Thinned mucous membrane enlarges the urethral opening and increases the risk of bladder infections.
- Central nerve damage: A spinal injury or disease of the nerves (multiple sclerosis, etc.) can disrupt the necessary interaction between the bladder and the brain stem.
- Operations, frequent catheterisation without subsequent bladder training, medication can also trigger bladder weakness and incontinence. Education provides you with an overview of possible perspectives and sensible measures.
Different degrees of incontinence
The different triggers mentioned above result in different degrees of incontinence. In the assessment and treatment of the problem, it has proven useful to distinguish between four such degrees of severity:
This form usually occurs in women who have had one or more births or are also entering the menopause. The uncontrolled urination then has external causes such as heavy carrying, sneezing, coughing or hiccups, but also fright. Overweight men can also be affected.
In this case, there is a sudden strong urge to urinate. At some point, this urge can no longer be suppressed. This form of incontinence is the second most common and is also called overactive bladder or irritable bladder.
This usually occurs in older men. The cause is usually an enlargement of the prostate. In women, the same dysfunction can occur due to overstretching of the bladder and the resulting enlarged bladder muscle. Heavy consumption of alcohol, but also diseases of the nerves or diabetes can lead to this form of incontinence.
If the control of the bladder function is completely lost after a severe injury or illness, this is called reflex incontinence.
The above-mentioned degrees can merge into one another depending on the cause. They are also either temporary or can become and remain a permanent condition.
Incontinence causes stress
The consequences for those affected are now well researched:
- 49 percent find it hard to talk about the subject
- 30 percent complain about lower self-confidence
- 26 percent had to give up important hobbies
It is not uncommon for this to lead to social withdrawal, relationship problems, loneliness and depression. Shame and the constant fear that other people might notice one's own problems reinforce these tendencies.
It is important that if you are affected, you seek counselling. Professionals, be they medical professionals or incontinence product distributors, are used to talking about the issue openly and constructively. Sometimes incontinence and resulting problems can be improved through counselling and treatment.
If nappies and incontinence trousers are necessary, care must be taken in the selection and counselling here as well. Supposedly practical disposable nappies can cause severe skin irritation. The quality of the material used can change and cause additional insecurity. As a result, high-quality and very functional cloth nappies are a helpful alternative to the classic disposable nappies. In addition to possibly being more comfortable to wear, environmental considerations also play a role in choosing cloth nappies.